Cyberbullying is something I am very familiar with.
I was a victim of online bullying. After posting demeaning online taunts about me on four different social media websites, she encouraged mutual friends to delete me on Facebook. She persisted in posting public online rants about me on her Facebook profile page. She then encouraged her friends to also make mean and hateful comments to me here on this blog and one of them actually did. When I responded to her cyberbullying by linking back to her online bashing in one of my posts, she contacted WordPress and left messages asking them to shut my blog down and they refused. I wasn’t breaking any rules and I wasn’t breaking the law. All the while she’s trying to shut me down for one post, she’s crazy-mad, obsessively stalking every single post I write over and over again for years.
If you don’t want your victim to link back to your online bullying, then do everyone a favor and stop being a bully.
I only responded here, in one place, on my own blog, and I was still respectful. These days they tell you to never respond to them. You’re supposed to just let them abuse you. I think this is crap advice and simply leads to more abuse, but I’m not an expert, just a survivor that fought back.
If I wasn’t supposed to respond, if I was supposed to remain silent and allow her to continue abusing me, if I was supposed to roll over and never fight back, well someone must have forgotten to send me that memo.
I think it was after she received some amateur legal advice to contact the State’s Attorney’s Office when she realized that the person who broke any kind of law on the books at that time, was her. Anyway that’s what I was told after I did my own research in that same direction and was definitely told that same fact about what law had been broken and by whom. I never pursued it beyond that.
Meanwhile all I could do was make sure that anything I shared here was well within my legal rights to share. I wasn’t particularly interested in following anyone around the Internet in order to retaliate. That’s just not my style and besides, I have a life to live. I think that’s the case with all victims of this kind of crap. We actually have lives and most of the time they are good lives, which is just fuel for a jealous bully.
I could press charges or try to pursue them beyond a misdemeanor slap on the wrist, but the time and effort hardly seemed worth the outcome. There were no laws in place to truly protect me from people like them, until now.
If I had ever reached a mental breaking point from the constant onslaught of being bullied and wanted to end my life to get away from it, I would have died for nothing. They would just move on to their next victim and the cycle of bullying would continue.
It happens to a lot of people online these days and for a very long time we thought there was nothing that could be done to stop the cyberbullies.
Well, that’s all changing.
I was told by law enforcement to document and keep copies of everything, and I did. I still have everything saved and printed out. That what you should do too. Document each incident, write about it and share it. Let others know they aren’t alone out here when it comes to being bullied. Find your voice and use it.
One of my good friends on Facebook has been running a page for quite a few years that always posts generous information about being safe on social media websites. The page is called Be Safe On Social Network Sites and that’s the link to find it. Go to Facebook today and Like that page as a valuable resource against cyberbullies.
I have also written some very informative articles that will give you valuable tools for protecting yourself. In the Categories section just click on Personal Boundaries Primer to read and explore each post. My personal favorite is a post entitled Not Today, which I am going to republish today so it’s easy to find.
“When you find yourself in front of someone interested in a confrontation that you are either not ready for, or simply never want to participate in, just look at them, smile and say “Not today.” Then turn and walk away. There’s nothing they can say to make you interact with them. Even if they ask you when you’ll be available, you can still turn and smile and say “Not today.”
It really works and the anxiety you feel will completely melt away knowing you have this one tool in your arsenal against bullies.”
~from Not Today, by Madeline Laughs
Other than documenting the abuse, using your voice to share your experience and finding other people to stand and support you, the best thing you can do is to move forward because I can guarantee that forward is not a direction the bully is headed in. You have good friends that you can spend your time with, ask them to support you when the going gets tough. You can do the same for them. Never allow the bully to pillage your support network. Let everyone know what the bully has done to terrorize and rob you and ask them to be vigilant and lock their metaphorical doors and windows against the bully.
But whatever you do, never, ever think that taking your own life will be the answer, because it is NOT the answer and it is NOT a solution.
You go out there and you live your life in spite of them because I’m going to tell you a big secret here, one that not many folks know…bullies come after shiny things. Bullies are jealousy wearing a skin suit. They are so filled with so much self loathing and hatred for their own lives that they find the prettiest and the happiest butterfly in the whole world and they try their best to pull it’s wings off. Don’t let them! Find your voice and use it to expose them for who and what they truly are. They aren’t scary! They’re pathetic!
Until next time, this is Madeline Laughs and I’m here fighting the evil injustices of the Interwebs in order to keep all of us safe and free from harm. ❤ We all just want to live in peace and have a good time and I think that’s a great place to start!